Washing Machine Maintenance

Your washing machine is an essential appliance to help you keep your home fresh and clean, but for your washer to take care of you, you have to take care of your washer. Regular washing machine maintenance may save you from prematurely having to purchase a new machine or get professional repair.

Follow these washing machine maintenance tips from Home Warranty of America to extend the life of your appliance and avoid unexpected breakdowns.

1. Fix Washer Problems Before They Start

As part of your washing machine maintenance, carefully examine your washing machine every few months. You stand a greater chance of catching problems before they become messy, expensive, or even dangerous.

It's important to check all hoses and connections to and from your washer for signs of cracks, leaks or clogs, including water inlet valves, and the tub and drainage system. It’s a good idea to allow several inches between the washer and the wall. This helps prevent kinks in the hose.

If you find a leak, unplug your washing machine immediately and turn off electricity. The leak must be repaired, and the water cleaned up before using your washing machine again.

2. Listen for Noises

It’s easy to put a load in the washer and move on to another task. However, with washing machine maintenance in mind, it’s good to periodically listen to how your washing machine is running. If you notice that it sounds clunky or you hear rattling sounds, there may be a problem with your machine. You may want to call a professional to look at the washer before a more serious issue arises.

3. Use the Right Detergent

Using the right detergent is an important part of washing machine maintenance if you own a high-efficiency (HE) machine. When you buy detergent, look for the “HE” label that shows it’s safe for high-efficiency machines. The use of standard detergents in a high-efficiency machine will likely leave residue on the machine’s drum.

Adding more detergent doesn’t necessarily mean cleaner clothes or a cleaner machine. In fact, using too much detergent may leave residue on your washing machine drum that’s difficult to remove. Make sure to follow instructions from your owner’s manual and the detergent packaging to determine the type of detergent and amount that works for your machine.

4. Keep Your Washer Clean

Another critical washing machine maintenance tip is to keep the internal parts of the machine clean. Be sure to thoroughly clean the following areas as part of your maintenance routine:

  • Clean the filter. Many washing machines have one or more filters, like lint traps or water inlet filters, which must be cleaned as part of routine washing machine maintenance. You should check your original documentation for the locations and cleaning procedures for cleaning these filters.
  • Wash out the fabric softener dispenser. If your washing machine has a fabric softener dispenser, clean it regularly. Fabric softener tends to leave behind gummy, sticky residue that may cause the dispenser to stick closed or even leak.
  • Scrub the detergent and bleach dispensers. Likewise, detergent and bleach dispensers should also be scrubbed regularly. Just because you are putting cleaners in them, doesn’t mean they are clean. Make sure there is no debris or build-up in each dispenser.
  • Rinse out the gasket on the washer. A dirty gasket may prevent a good seal when you shut the machine door. If you notice any breaks or tears when cleaning your machine, it’s time to replace the gasket.
  • Wipe down the exterior. Since you’re already cleaning your washer, give the exterior a good wipe down. Pay extra attention to buttons and knobs where dirt may build up and get in the way of proper functioning.
  • Clean out the washing machine’s drum. Occasionally cleaning your washing machine's drum will strip away mineral deposits and detergent residue that builds up over time. You can purchase washing machine cleaners at the store and run it through a cycle in your empty machine. If you are looking for a cleaner alternative, try using a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, and water instead.

5. Keep Your Machine Level

Just as with clothes dryer maintenance, washer machine maintenance requires keeping your washing machine level. An off-balance washing machine can wobble around, rattle the motor, shake loose hardware, and even shimmy the whole machine across your laundry room. This is more than an annoyance—it can lead to costly washer repair. Most washing machines have adjustable legs. If your machine is off-balance, adjust the legs until the machine is completely level.

Another way to keep your washing machine balanced is to avoid overloading it. With a soaking wet, overfull load, the spin cycle can wobble your machine enough to cause it to move and be unlevel.

HWA Can Help

We hope that these washing machine maintenance tips help you keep your machine in working order and your clothes and linens nice and fresh. To find other home solutions and learn more about the way home warranties work, give us a call at 1-888-492-7359.

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